By Cathy Burke
Former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz is blasting three Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for their demand that CIA Director John Brennan apologize for a search of Senate files during the committee’s investigation of the agency’s torture program.
In a letter Monday to committee members Ron Wyden of Oregon, Mark Heinrich of New Mexico, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Fleitz lashes out at their “utterly false accusation” and demands that they repair the damage done to trust between Congress and the intelligence community.
In the Democrats’ letter last Friday, they asked that Brennan publicly admit to the impropriety of the computer search, McClatchy reported.
“We call on you to acknowledge that this search was improper, and commit that these unacceptable actions will not be repeated,” the members wrote, McClatchy reported.
Fleitz, of the Center for Security Policy, asserts that “the real issue here is gross misconduct by Democratic staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.”
Fleitz has previously made the same allegation of misconduct in National Review, accusing committee staffers of “serious violations,” including removing classified documents without authorization and hacking a CIA computer system to access documents the staff was not authorized to read.
“[W]hat is at stake in this case is misconduct by the SSCI staff and refusal of Democratic committee members to hold them accountable,” Fleitz says, adding that it “has seriously undermined the bond of trust between Congress and American intelligence agencies.”
“[I]t is time for you to stop making false charges against the CIA on how it reacted to criminal activity by the SSCI Democratic staff during the enhanced interrogation investigation,” he adds.
“You must begin an investigation of this misconduct and take steps to reassure American intelligence officers that blatantly political behavior by SSCI staff and members which violates the law and classification rules will never happen again,” Fleitz says.
The Senate committee’s investigation report, released last December, concluded that the CIA misled Congress and White House officials about its interrogations of terror suspects and that the program was more brutal than previously disclosed.
But shortly after the release, former Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, issued his own report on the dispute between Feinstein’s Intelligence Committee staff and the CIA over suspected leaks of classified information, alleging that Feinstein’s staffers copied and took material without authorization.